Top 10 Best Bookstores in Alaska

Any Alaskan will tell you that the long, dark winter in the Last Frontier is a great time to catch up on some reading. Sitting by a fire or snuggled under a blanket with a good book is one of the best ways to fill the long, long nights.

Even if you don’t plan on spending the winter months in Alaska, you can still enjoy one of the many bookstores around the state. You can snag the newest bestseller, browse books on Native cultures, or find an adorable Alaskan animal picture book to take home to the little ones in your life.

If you happen to visit a town without a local bookstore, you can usually find Alaska themed books at the local souvenir shop!

Let’s get started!

Best bookstores in Alaska

1. Parnassus Books – Ketchikan

Top view of assorted books

Parnassus Books has been serving Ketchikan locals and tourists since 1985. The storefront can be reached on foot from the cruise ship dock, and you will find all the best sellers, international literature, as well as Alaska-related reading material.

In addition to books, you can shop for unique gifts and other cute knick-knacks. The staff is known to be very helpful and friendly, going the extra mile for customers.

  • Address: 105 Stedman St, Ketchikan, AK 99901
  • Hours: Tues-Fri 10 am – 5 pm, Sat 10 am – 5:30 pm, Sun 1 pm – 4 pm
  • Price Range: $
  • Website

2. Hearthside Books & Toys – Juneau

One of the biggest bookstores in Juneau, Hearthside Books and Toys offers a wide selection of books, games, and toys. While it has changed addresses a few times since it opened in 1975, Hearthside has never disappointed its customer base.

The staff is super friendly and helpful, and they are always willing to order anything you are seeking that isn’t on the shelves. There are currently two Hearthside locations in Juneau.

  • Address: 8745 Glacier Hwy # 245, Juneau, AK 99801
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am – 7 pm, Sat 10 am – 6 pm, Sun 12 pm – 5 pm
  • Price Range: $$
  • Website

3. Title Wave Books – Anchorage

The warehouse-sized Title Wave Books has been serving Anchorage since 1991, and it is one of the largest used bookstores in the country.

You can buy books, movies, music, and video games. Plus, they will buy some of your gently used items. You will find something for everyone with all of the genres they carry.

Title Wave also hosts activities like writer’s workshops, story hours for kids, and the occasional game night.

  • Address: 1360 W Northern Lights Blvd, Anchorage, AK 99503
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am – 6 pm, Sat 10 am – 7 pm, Sun 11 am – 6 pm
  • Price Range: $
  • Website

4. Old Harbor Books – Sitka

A row of antique books

The well-established Old Harbor Books has been offering Sitka residents good reads since 1976. While they have a great selection in-store, they will order anything you are looking for at no extra charge.

If you have little ones, you will love the large children’s section and the many Alaska-themed titles.

If searching the book stacks can make you thirsty, you can head to the cafe located in the back of the shop. Your little one will love the kids’ hot chocolate!

  • Address: 201 Lincoln St, Sitka, AK 99835
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 10 am – 6 pm, Sun 11 am – 4 pm
  • Price Range: $$
  • Website

5. Rainy Retreat Books – Juneau

The cozy Rainy Retreat Books is located in downtown Juneau and is easily accessible from the cruise ship docks.

You will find an excellent selection of new, used, and rare books on hand as well as some used vinyl. Visitors love the ambiance created by the rustic wooden floors and the towering shelves.

The staff are very knowledgeable and are always ready to help you find what you are looking for.

  • Address: 113 Seward St, Juneau, AK 99801
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 10:30 am – 5:30 pm
  • Price Range: $$
  • Website

6. Fireside Books – Palmer

A pair of reading glasses on top of a book

Fireside Books opened its doors in Palmer back in 2001 and has been thriving ever since. You’ll find thousands of options in just about any genre you can think of including local topics of interest. The store is also instrumental in helping local authors!

Palmer residents look to Fireside as a place to meet up with friends, get a little work done, or simply relax with a great book.

  • Address: 720 S Alaska St, Palmer, AK 99645
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 10 am – 7 pm
  • Price Range: $
  • Website

7. Skagway News Depot & Books – Skagway

A macro shot of books on a shelf

This independent bookstore can be found on Skagway’s historic Broadway Street, and it contains one of the state’s biggest selections of Alaska-Yukon themed reading materials.

You’ll find the shop just a 2-minute walk from the White Pass and Yukon Route, and you are sure to love the quant atmosphere and the friendliness of the staff.

If you get a chance, be sure to check out the Skagway Police Blotter volumes!

  • Address: 264 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm
  • Price Range: $$
  • Website

8. Friends of the Library Amazing Bookstore – Juneau

A girl surrounded by books

The Amazing Bookstore is a non-profit that helps the library pay for special projects. The store is staffed completely with volunteers, and the inventory is all donations!

Locals dump their unwanted reads which are then sorted into categories by the volunteers for easier browsing. While it may not be the place to go for the newest NYT best seller, if you have time to peruse, you may find many hidden gems.

The books are extremely cheap with some ringing up at less than one dollar.

  • Address: 9121 Glacier Hwy, Juneau, AK 99801
  • Hours: Wed-Sun 10 am – 4 pm
  • Price Range: $
  • Website

9. The Bookstore – Haines

A wooden horse on top of a book stack

Opened by Amy Kane just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down a lot of businesses, The Bookstore in Haines managed to hang on during that unprecedented time to become the last independent bookstore in the area.

The shop contains plenty of best-selling fiction in its mostly used inventory. In addition to books, you can purchase stationary, toys, and gifts.

  • Address: 223 Main St Box 935, Haines, AK 99827
  • Hours: Tues-Sat 11 am – 5 pm
  • Price Range: $$
  • Website

10. Homer Bookstore – Homer

A stack of assorted books

Homer Bookstore became a fully-fledged independent book shop back in 1974 making it Kenai Peninsula’s oldest.

Since opening in the 70’s, it has moved locations quite a few time, and it currently does business from an older building full of charm on Pioneer Avenue.

You will find plenty of Alaska-themed items and books written by local authors. The ambiance of the shop snags the attention of anyone walking by on the street, and the excellent customer service keeps them coming back.

  • Address: 332 E Pioneer Ave #1, Homer, AK 99603
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11 am – 6 pm
  • Price Range: $$
  • Website

Reading is Fundamentalโ€ฆ

Whether you are needing a bit of reading material for your carry-on or looking for the perfect Alaskan gift for someone back home, these bookstores dotting the state are sure to have just the thing.

Make sure you check out the local authors while browsing the shelves and spend a few moments chatting with the staff. You are sure to get all kinds of tips for cool things to do in the area.